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Office 365 vs. Google for Work: A cloud comparison for small businesses

Matt Kapko | June 17, 2015
The price of enterprise collaboration and productivity tools for small- and medium-size businesses has dropped considerably. Cloud-based services from Microsoft, Google and others are available for what many folks pay for a single cup of coffee.

Google for Work for Small Businesses: Features, price and access

Google offers a simpler, more streamlined pair of plans for small business (or any size business) that costs $50 and $120 per year per user, with an annual commitment. The entry-level plan comes with the monthly discounted rate of $4.17 per user if organizations agree to that annual commitment, but the premium plan costs the same $10 per month, per user regardless of commitments.

[Related Feature: IT pros say Google slowly infiltrating enterprise, education]

Both Google Apps for Work plans come with online and mobile access to Google's popular services, including Gmail and Hangouts, as well as its other alternatives to Office, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drive. That universal access to Google's mobile apps and Web-based tools is a key differentiator, but Google doesn't provide the same level of software for PCs and Macs as Microsoft. Google Apps customers can use Docs, Sheets and other Google applications offline but as any Office power user can attest, Google's offerings pale in comparison to the feature sets of Microsoft Word, Excel and other tools. 

With just 30GB of storage per user, Google's entry-level plan doesn't compete with Microsoft either. Google gets back in line at its premium level, however, with 1TB of storage per user or unlimited storage for accounts with at least five users. The $10 monthly plan also comes with advanced controls, policies and Google Vault, which helps administrators retain, archive, search and export an organization's email and chat messages. 

Microsoft Office 365 vs. Google for Work: Quick conclusion 

The price of Google's entry-level plan costs roughly 17 percent less per user than Microsoft's entry offering. When it comes to storage on entry-level plans, Microsoft nearly doubles Google. Bottom line: Price, storage, access and flexibility are important considerations for small businesss seeking cloud tools. However, in many cases the differences in features between Google for Work and Microsoft Office 365 are not as important as platform familiarity.


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